Hearthstone thankful for 20 months COVID-free

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Sarah Provard, one of Hearthstone's dedicated staff members, receives her second COVID vaccine. All 23 residents and staff received vaccinations at the Hearthstone Retirement Home and In-Home Care Services. PROVIDED PHOTO

WAYNESBORO–Hearthstone Retirement Home and In-Home Care is celebrating being 20 months COVID free for all its residents. 

“With a group of residents and clients of advanced ages, we were especially concerned when we first heard about COVID-19.” said Joey Thomas, Hearthstone administrator. “We started developing protocols in mid-February 2020 before a lot of state and federal officials focused on the virus. By March 5, we’d implemented procedures to keep residents, clients and staff safe.

“Those procedures took time to make a regular part of everyone’s daily habits,” Thomas aid.    “Residents who liked to visit downtown Waynesboro had to make peace with restricted movement.  Staff needed to carefully adhere to procedures as they entered and departed in-home care client’s homes and the retirement home each day.” 

“Residents, clients and staff did a great job settling into the new procedures,” said then Hearthstone Board President Dan DeDona. “In addition to our internal efforts, we got a great deal of help from local, county and state organizations.”

“Wellspan was particularly helpful in the early going,” added Val Dick, current board president who took a personal interest in arranging grants and other support.  “They were quick to see the value of helping us prevent the spread among our ‘at risk’ population. We also received help from The Foundation for Enhancing Communities in partnership with United Way of the Capital Region, the Franklin County Community Foundation, and the state’s South Central Regional Response Health Collaborative Program.  We got tangible help acquiring personal protective equipment and other support.” 

Two large size washers and dryers (for constant washing of protective gowns), sanitizing supplies and personal protective equipment, a laptop for family and physician zoom meetings and plexiglass for family visitation areas are some of the benefits of these grants. 

In addition, many individuals and companies made donations that kept spirits of residents and staff up during this trying time.

The RRHCP was especially helpful when the state mandated testing for residents and staff.  They were instrumental in arranging visits by testers at Hearthstone and finding funding to minimize or eliminate the cost. 

“As vaccines became available, we were fortunate to rank highly on the distribution list.” said Thomas. Residents and staff got their first shots on Jan. 25 and received their second doses on Feb. 15.  Booster shots were administered on Oct. 20. 

“We have now been able to relax some of the barriers and controls as vaccinations and our

knowledge of the virus improves,” Thomas said. “Regardless what the future may hold, the

residents, clients, staff and board of Hearthstone have done a great job. We’re looking forward

to continued success and as rapid a return to normal as we can manage.”

The vital In-Home Care service of meeting needs of individuals in their own homes is also being

launched anew. Hearthstone Retirement Home currently has available space for new residents

and they are also looking for new employees who have a heart to serve in the retirement home

or in in-home care opportunities.

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